‘Hong Kong-Asean free-trade deal to be signed by November’: Philippine minister

Secretary of Trade and Industry Ramon Lopez said the free-trade agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Hong Kong was set to be signed on the sidelines of the 31st Asean summit in the Philippines in November.

“This is a great opportunity to expand economic cooperation between Asean and Hong Kong,” he said at an Asean-themed conference in the city. “Asean is Hong Kong’s second-largest trading partner, after China.” Negotiations over the free-trade agreement started in 2014.

The Philippine consul general, Bernardita Catalla, said the key elements to be covered by the FTA included “the elimination or reduction of tariffs, liberalisation of trade and services, as well as intellectual property cooperation”.